Don't Be Afraid To Ask!

6 So Jesus went with them. But just before they arrived at the house, the officer sent some friends to say, “Lord, don’t trouble yourself by coming to my home, for I am not worthy of such an honor. 7 I am not even worthy to come and meet you. Just say the word from where you are, and my servant will be healed.

Luke 7:6-7 NLT

Living in this world, there are natural limitations that can seem impossible to overcome or requests that can seem unreasonable to make.  This officer (a centurion who was Gentile or non-Jew) in this passage had made a request to Jesus.  One of the officer's valued servants was sick. Could Jesus, who was some distance away, come and heal him, the centurion asked.   The Jewish elders, through whom the message was conveyed, thought it an unreasonable and undeserving request.  They assumed that Christ would only heal Jews and thought it necessary to “persuade” Jesus that healing the Gentile’s servant was justified and the man deserving – because of his good deed towards the Jewish nation. But Jesus had a different agenda.  In spite of the unorthodox circumstances, He healed the man’s servant and commended him for having a faith that surpassed any that He had encountered in “all Israel”.

The world says that requests must be “reasonable”.  This means that there must be a connection between the request and the prevailing circumstances.  There must be a cause and effect that does not violate natural expectations.  If there is no precedent, it is likely that the request is unreasonable.  The world also says that the person making the request must be “deserving”.  By way of action or accomplishment, the person making the request must be in a superior moral or situational position to justify entertainment (of the request).  This is typically the process we go through if we want to borrow money from the bank, receive a promotion or ask for a pay increase.

Soon if we are not careful, our internal dialog, influenced by convention, is “I don’t deserve this because it is unreasonable or because I don’t qualify. Therefore, I will limit the request I am making to God so that I am not overcome by disappointment”.   When this permeates into our spirits, we allow the standards set by others to limit God’s power in us.  We prefer the safe route of self-protection and self-dependence.

5 “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. 6 Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. 7 But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! 8 When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.

John 14:5-8 NLT

God has a different standard, however.  He desires that His glory be demonstrated in the granting of supernatural requests.  He is not interested in whether there is precedent or whether I feel deserving.  He is interested in manifesting His power in the lives of surrendered people.  What request do you have for him that you think is unreasonable or undeserved?  Have you held back in prayer?  Confess it to God and others.  Stand on the promise of His word.  Fill yourself up with Him as the passage above says and ask!  Don’t hold back!  Don’t be limited to what you think is naturally possible.  God does not respond because of us.  He responds because that is His character.

I want to also address a negative corollary to what preceded.  It is the idea that we ought always to receive the positive things “we deserve”.  Our sense of entitlement might be based on some standard (qualification, experience, education etc.,) that we think allows us access to a predetermined basket of benefits, labeled with our names.  The truth is that we are less likely to receive what we “deserve” and more likely to receive what we ask for.  Further, if we are not in the habit of asking our heavenly Father, we will certainly struggle to project our requests to earthly holders of the privilege we seek.  If you have been hurt because you were not awarded what you thought you deserved, the hard truth is that people only know that you desire elevation or opportunity if you voice it.  If voicing it is challenged either by feelings of negative self-worth, “imposter syndrome”, negative comparisons or plain fear then the hard alternative is ownership of the outcome, even if distressing.

When it comes to what we want for ourselves and those we love, we must embrace the type of language that says:

 “I know the request is unreasonable and outside of the realm of natural expectation, but You God will do it anyway.  I know that I don’t deserve the favor, but You will do it anyway!  If there is someone I need to ask, I will go in the confidence you give me.  Thank You Lord!”

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